I've been considering a P229R E2 for quite sometime and finally succumbed to the allure.
I guess the biggest change is the grip. When I first started looking at the E2 (like to have never found one locally) I thought it was basically a P229R with a grip solution that shortens the reach to the trigger. Well it does that, but the entire grip is somehow significantly smaller - moreso than just a rear grip reduction could account for.
The grip has a scalloped out place at the top rear of the grip. This helps with the trigger reach, helps acquire and maintain a higher grip on the gun, and a much thinner top side grip makes it possible to release the slide with the shooting hand thumb; that was near impossible on the standard grip.
Another change, and I guess it's as big as the grip change, is the magazine and magazine well. The E2s have a 15 round mag capacity. The magazine shape is different in that the top, say one third of the mag, is the standard width but the lower two thirds or so of the mag are flared out a bit on each side; this portion of the mag is in fact 0.06" wider than a standard 229 mag. Which means, an E2 mag will not fit a standard 229 frame. However, I have been told by owners that the standard 229 mags will work in the E2 frame and don't appear to be loose or have any kind of reliability issues. I have not confirmed this with Sig however.
Another difference is the slide. The slide of a 229R E2 is a full 0.1" thinner than a standard 229 slide, which means, the E2 version may not fit as securely in a 229 holster as you might think. However, my E2 will fit a 226R holster, although of course the holster will be longer than necessary.
E2s come with a short trigger and I thought the SRT (short reset trigger). I'll describe the difference between the two - not everyone is up on Sig triggernometry sooo....
There are two types of triggers for Sig Classics, i.e. the 220, 226, 229, and 239. The more common trigger is the 'thicker' trigger, that is, it is thicker from front to back. And then of course that would only leave the 'short trigger' to be thinner from front to back and the 'thinner' is all off the front of the trigger to shorten the reach to the trigger.
FWIW, I've already swapped out my short trigger, or as I believe Sig is referring to them now, as the short reach trigger, which may not be the best choice since the first letters of the three words are SRT, which would be the same as the Short Reset Trigger which is a totally different thing. I swapped out my Short Trigger because the bottom tip is curved and sharp and it digs into my finger.
The Short RESET Trigger has nothing to do with the shape of the trigger as the Short Trigger does, but rather the SRT shortens the travel distance the trigger has to travel from the fully rearward position (like it would be if you'd just fired it) to the forward position where it 'resets' for the next shot. Sig claims the SRT is 60% of the standard trigger set up. I do like that!
Just a heads up: I thought all E2s came with the SRT, but I went to one local gunshop to look at one and was surprised that it did NOT have the SRT. So, if you are shopping around for an E2, be sure you check the trigger reset if you want the SRT setup.
The E2s, as far as I know, come with SigLites, 3 fifteen round E2 mags, the short trigger and as excepted above with the SRT.
I've only shot 200 rounds through it. I didn't shoot it as well as I expected to; I shot a bit low and to the left, about an inch in each direction in fact. That was with the short trigger. Today I shot the 2nd 100 rounds with the standard trigger, that did make some difference.
I did my standard evaluation drills with it, that is, 10 shots at 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 yards. I shot for accuracy only, and only in SA. Knowing from yesterday it shot a bit low and left, I compensated a bit and got 49 out of 50 rounds in the ten ring at all ranges, with the one outside the 10 ring occuring at 15 yards. This was at an indoor range and I expect if the lighting had been better, that would have made a difference.
Right now I'm a little disappointed that it is shooting low and left. However, a buddy of mine that has one says his shoots dead on.
The short reset is significant. My buddy swears it's faster etc. but I'm not so sure. I like the short reset, it's a least as short as a Glock, well my Glock reference is my Glocks with Ghost Rocket connectors in them, tuned to limit overtravel, but the SRT is every bit as short as my Glock set up.
What I find however, is that the trigger resets (even the conventional trigger) far faster than the gun recovers from recoil. I think one would have to do some carefully timed drills to confirm the SRT really makes a difference.
One thing that is easily noticed is the heavy DA pull. It is heavier than the standard P229/6. I suspect part of that is because the reduced grip size requires a different hammer strut and hammer spring. The hammer spring is quite short and must be pretty strong. The SA breaks at about 3.5 lbs; I couldn't measure the DA because my scale only goes to 8 lbs. I'm guessing it's about 11 lbs.
I can reach both the slide release lever and the decocker lever with very little change in my grip. I can not do that with the standard grip of the P229.
Sig offers an E2 kit to convert 229s and 226s to the E2 grip or pretty close any way. The kit includes a grip installation/removal tool, the one-piece E2 grip, a new hammer strut, an new hammer spring base, and I can't remember if it includes a new hammer spring or not.
Before I went shooting today, I switched the mag release button for right side operation. I'm right handed, and with the mag release on the right, as it comes, I cannot operate the mag release with my thumb without significantly rotating the gun in my hand. With the release on the right, I can release the mag with my trigger finger more positively and with little if any rotation of the gun. I will set up all my Sig classics that way as I come to them.
Well, that's about it - oh, the P229R E2 is 2 oz lighter than the standard P229R.
Of the 200 rounds fired, I had no failures of any kind, of course that's what one would expect from a Sig.
I guess that's about it now.
Update: 22-Jan-2011, 1650 hours EST:I was not satisfied that a Sig, especially a new Sig would not shoot to point of aim, so I took my E2 and 100 rounds to the outdoor range. What a remarkable difference! If I held the sights on target, the shot hit it. I shot cans from 20 to 60 feet, shotgun shells at 25 feet, torso size dingers at 63 yards. The difference I think, is the lighting; the sun was fairly bright and I could get such a clear, distinct sight picture. This was more like what I was expecting.
One other thing about the gun that would be good news for those that have to unload and reload a lot. You can drop a round in the chamber and let the slide down very easy and light on it. Then you can press on the rear of the extractor and it gently lifts the extractor over the case and seats. That's actually a trick I learned from Hk customer service for topping off a USP. That eliminates the need to feed a round from the magazine. That saves a lot of wear and tear, namely bullet setback, that can happen from rechambering the same SD round a lot.